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Archive for Wednesday, November 14, 1990

HIGH SCHOOL SUPPORT

November 14, 1990

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To the Editor:

I would like to urge caution in interpreting the results of last Tuesday's school bond issue election. It would not be correct to interpret the vote as a public rejection of the concept of a second four-year high school in Lawrence. What the public rejected was a specific proposal that called for a second high school to be built, in the words of some, "half-way to Topeka."

It was fairly clear from the public debate that preceded the election that many people who conceded the need for a second high school were not pleased with its proposed location. For some, the school was just too far west. For others, who derisively called in "Alvamar" High School, it was too close to the attendance boundary. Many people feared that the political pressure to move that boundary would be too strong for future school boards to resist.

Looking at the election results, it is fact that over 37 percent of those voting supported a second high school now, even if its location were not the most desirable. If just 13 percent of those voting against the proposal did so because of its location and would have voted for a second high school located near the middle of its proposed attendance area, then a majority exists in Lawrence right now in favor of a second four-year high school.

Before the school board starts looking at alternatives such as a mega-structure (do we get a parking garage, too?) at 19th and Louisiana; or another example of that dying organizational form, the 7-9 junior high or the experimental mid-high concept at one site or two, it would do well to consider proposing an educationally sound four-year high school in a location that the community can live with.

I suspect that if we look at those election returns very carefully and analyze the public debate, we'll find that there is more public support for a second four-year high school right now than there is for any of the stop-gap alternatives.

Thomas Erb,

511 Ohio.

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